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Shopping for Kitchen Supplies: Standard Restaurant Supply

Ask any chef or great cook and they'll tell you - it's all in the tools. Home cooks could spend the rest of their lives amassing their collection, and truth be told - they often do.

But what if you're just starting out, on a budget, or widening your culinary horizons? This week, we'll give you a guide to get you through the salad days of stocking up. From hidden gems found at your local fashion discounter to gigantic pots and pans in restaurant supply houses, there's something to be found for every kitchen, and at every price point. Here's how to kit your kitchen like a pro, from five different points of view.

Yesterday we looked at ABC Baking. Today, we're checking out:

Standard Restaurant Supply 2922 East McDowell Rd Phoenix, AZ 85008 (602) 275-8550 Web site

If there was ever a Disneyland for cooks, this place would be it. We practically skipped through the whole store, we were so giddy. It's hard to take it all in with just one visit, so expect an urge to return again and again.

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Sure, the great goods and gadgets will get you in the door, but what will reel you in are the staff. They were all, without fail, smiling, friendly, and ready to explain the merits of a balloon whisk versus a piano whisk to a home cook.

And speaking of whisks, they stock no less than 20 different kinds. From baby whisks barely four inches tall to behemoths that stand over four feet tall, if they don't carry what you are whisking for, it's possible it doesn't exist.

Pots abound in every size. From small stock pots and frying pans (both starting at around $15) to enormous (180 gallons!) they are all here. Instead of buying a set, pick your perfect size. With prices that rarely clear $20 for something sized for home use, it is the perfect strategy. You'll end up with pieces you'll use, in sizes you desire. And, since they were designed for commercial use, they'll clearly work at home and last for a long, long time.

Dishes, serving gear, and glasses are another winner here. From beverage glasses in every size (martini, water, red wine, port, lager), most priced around $1-5 each, it wouldn't be hard to customize the perfect bar. The biggest surprise was the open-stock Fiestaware. This collectible American classic is much more expensive elsewhere, if you can even find it. Folks missing a piece would do well to check here first. The price, and selection, are both impressive.

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